Ignoring the advice of its own advisory panel, Health Canada will not renew monitoring of trans-fat levels in processed foods. The panel advised that the monitoring be renewed and that manufacturers be warned that regulations will come if trans-fat levels are not reduced.
The panel made these recommendations after officials at Health Canada requested that they look into the matter.
In 2009, there were plans for regulation of trans-fats but Leona Aglukkaq, the Health Minister, killed them and ignore department officials who told her that with such regulations, the government would actually save money.
Another case of the Harper government ignoring experts to suit themselves, another case where a program that would still be beneficial has been deemed to have ‘run its course.’
Libby Davies, Official Opposition Health Critic, said the move would make it harder for families to ensure they are feeding their families healthfully.
“This is a worrying trend we’re seeing with the Minister of Health. The Minister has already dropped the ball on a variety of food safety issues – from sodium to energy drinks to food labelling,”said Davies in a press release. “Conservative inaction on important food issues is putting the health of Canadians at risk.”
Davies’ party, the NDP, gathered all party support in 2004 on the issue of limiting trans-fats in food, but the Conservative government, in power since 2006, have not taken any steps toward that goal. Davies argues that the Harper government is listening to the concerns of manufacturers who would be forced to make major changes ahead of individual Canadians.
Studies across the world are showing that banning or limiting trans-fats in food can improve the overall health of a population. A study by the World Health Organization found that government policies that ban trans-fats, reduce saturated fats and salt in food can cut the number of deaths related to cardiovascular disease by 20 percent.
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